Should You Take Statins ‘Just In Case’ Or Not???
Information is often conflicting but it might help to think about the following points:
Questions to ask:
Is there a genetic history of heart disease in your family?
How healthy is your diet?
Do you smoke?
Do you exercise regularly?
What is the level of calcium in your coronary arteries?
What does research say?
- Drug company (AstraZeneca) funded research claims that rosuvastatin significantly cut deaths from heart attacks and strokes.
- Archives of Internal Medicine say that the above was flawed research and commercial influence had warped the figures.
- A study by John Hopkins University, Maryland found that it was those who had high coronary artery calcium levels who were most likely to suffer heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths and advised only prescribing statins to those with high coronary artery calcium levels.
- We need cholesterol! A Swedish study of 42 people who had attempted suicide suggested that when blood cholesterol drops, so does serotonin, which is our ‘feelgood’ chemical in our bodies.
- People with low cholesterol are at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s.
- Taking a daily pill takes away our feelings of responsibility – so we often eat more, exercise less, believing that as we are taking a statin, it will ‘fix everything’.
- We should maybe focus more on reducing inflammation in our bodies – because stroke and heart attacks are inflammatory diseases.
Why are we really being prescribed them?
- Is it because the definition of high cholesterol has been lowered over the years?
- Supposed to significantly cut deaths from heart attacks and strokes.
- NICE sets standards that GP’s have to follow. If they recommend that GP’s prescribe them then they have to do so.
What are the potential side effects:
- Depression, fatigue, muscle aches, erectile dysfunction, cataracts, liver problems, kidney failure, increased risk of diabetes.
So who should be taking statins?
- Those who have already suffered heart attacks or stroke.
- People with inflammatory risk as it is thought that statins help because they have anti-inflammatory properties.
A final thought
Remember – about 75% of people who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.
Never stop taking medication without discussing with your GP or specialist first.